- gymnema">The plant and its history
Gymnema Sylvestre, which we can commonly find in herbal medicine, is obtained from the Gymnema plant that is born and develops mainly in the tropical forests found in India and in Southeast Asia. The Gymnema therefore needs the warm and humid climate, typical of tropical forests. It is a woody climbing type plant, its leaves are oval or elliptical, its flowers are yellow and have a bell shape.
Depending on the place of origin, the Gymnema can take different names: Gokhru in Unani, Gurmar in Hindi, Meshashringi in Sanskrit, Sirukurinjan in Tamil and finally Vishani, still in Sanskrit.
The active ingredients of the plant are found in the leaves and roots and these are the parts that are used for Ayurvedic - medical purposes.
The ability of Gymnema to reduce the absorption of sugars in the intestine has been known since ancient times. For more than two thousand years, Gymnema leaves have been used in India for the treatment of diabetes. The word with which Gymnema is called in the Hindu language, "gumar" means "destroyer of sugars" and it is precisely for this purpose that they have always used it. For completeness, let's say that in India the same plant is also used to treat snake bites, to relieve intestinal disorders, liver diseases and also to fight colds.
The Indian doctors also recommend the use of Gymnema also to integrate additives intended for the treatment of obesity and caries. The most widespread use is in India, but the Gymnema plant is also used by the Australian, Vietnamese and Japanese populations for its numerous properties.
Gymnema plant">For diabetics and gourmands
The active ingredient found in the leaves and roots of Gymnema is called gymnemic acid. It is a molecule very similar to that of glucose but, compared to this, larger in size, which allows it to bind to the intestinal receptors that have the task of absorbing sucrose, thus causing a reversible block.
The action of lowering the blood sugar level occurs through two main mechanisms: at the intestinal level it temporarily blocks the absorption of sugars and at the cellular level it stimulates the metabolic transformation of glucose.
The blocking of sucrose absorption in the intestine occurs rather quickly and the effect lasts for many hours. The absorption of sugars in the intestine is inhibited by up to fifty percent. These properties make the intake of Gymnema suitable for cases of dietary hyperglycemia, or high sugar intake, or in cases of real diabetes.
Its ability to inhibit the absorption of sugars, favoring their disposal, make Gymnema an excellent aid even for those with overweight problems and want to lose weight, provided that the excess weight is due to a diet rich in simple sugars and complexes such as sweets of various kinds, potatoes, bread, pasta. It can therefore be said that the Gymnema is an aid for gluttons.
In addition to helping to limit the blood sugar level, the Gymnema plant also has the effect of nullifying the sweet taste. Just put a small amount of Gymnema on the tongue and in a very short time you will lose the ability to perceive the sweet taste. Our taste buds, on the other hand, remain fully active when it comes to the bitter taste and the perception of salty and sour. This effect can be useful for those who want to fight the desire to eat sweet foods, canceling the prevailing taste, they will be less attractive.
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Gymnema is a real panacea, the famous remedy for all ills. Perhaps not all of them, but its numerous properties are a help against many problems, if they have been using it in India for more than two thousand years, perhaps they have some good reason.
In addition to significantly lowering the absorption of sugars, Gymnema is also able to reduce the level of lipids in the blood. It is a plant whose use is recommended for those who suffer from a high concentration of triglycerides and so-called "bad cholesterol" in the blood, since it significantly reduces the quantity.
Even in cases of water retention we can resort to the help of Gymnema, which is recognized as having a mild diuretic effect.
Another wide use that is made of it is to treat stomach ailments, some liver diseases and also in cases of constipation. If that wasn't enough, Gymnema has been used successfully for the treatment of gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
We end up saying that the leaves have also been shown to have important antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Gymnema can be effectively taken both in capsules and in herbal tea form, both ways are equally effective.
The intake of Gymnema in the commonly indicated doses does not pose any problems for adults and has been judged very safe.
As for pregnant or lactating women and children, the effects and potential contraindications are not yet certain, so as a precaution it is good to avoid consumption.
Gymnema has a high blood sugar lowering power, so it is best not to use it in combination with anti-hyperglycemic drugs or diabetes drugs, in order to avoid an excessive and harmful decrease in sugar.
Consult a doctor, especially in the latter case is a must.